journey took me to the Alsace region of western France, also known
as the Bas-Rhin, to a small village named Rothau, which is not far
from the city of Strasbourg, which lies on the border to Germany.
The rolling hills and wooded slopes of the Vosges mountains gives
one a serene feeling of peace and tranquillity, on this lovely summer
day I drove up the twisting mountain road lined by pine forests,
the sun shining in the clear blue sky,
the clouds passing gently across the countryside.
I had a strange feeling of trepidation as I neared the Death Camp
Struthof - Natzwiler.
trepidation was soon realised as I stopped at a road junction at the
top of the hill. There were two signs on the post, one gave directions
to the "Hotel and Bar" the other, which chilled me to the
bone, "To Gas Chamber"
wasn't far along the road before I could see the Gas Chamber, it
was just a building but still had a menacing look and feel about
brought to my mind the
images and newsreels of the horror of the death camps, the tangled
pile's of bodies, men, women and children, all thrown together.
The immense suffering they endured still on their faces, twisted
in agonising pain and terror.
macht frei"( work makes you free), was the despicable Nazi
slogan placed on the gates of many death camps there to decieve
those passing through its gates...... on their way to a certain
The Gas Chamber at Struthof.
wooden sign hung above the heavy barbed wire gates
Watchtower at the camp entrance.
had arrived at the gates of this man made "Hell", that
was constructed here in September of 1940. One cannot mistake the
entrance to this monstrous place, or silhouetted against the clear
blue sky, the imposing square shape of the black watchtowers.
Many thousands of prisoners had walked through these gates never
to see freedom again, but only to wait for death in whatever barbaric
way it was to be inflicted upon them. How sad I was to think that
here was the place of such cruelty and suffering and where many
thousands of people including the four women S.O.E. agents in the
book (Flames in the Field) met their fate at the hands of the Nazi's.
I could not comprehend the suffering that took place here only sixty